Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guest Blogger: I am Irrevocable

As she was writing this post the other day, I asked Malia how she would describe our friendship. After going back and forth for a few minutes, and a lot of "LOL", here is the best I can come up with - ours is a friendship that could only exist in our internet/technology obsessed world today.

By chance (and perhaps my inability to stop being a "social worker" for even 3 seconds), Malia and I met online - on a website/forum that had absolutely NOTHING to do with social work or adoption or anything remotely related to the blog post you are about to read. And yet, we somehow got on the topic of adoption. Malia was adopted as an infant and though she knew she was adopted growing up, she didn't know much else about her biological family. But she was at a point where she wanted to know more - or more accurately, wanted to know them.

And suddenly, through what must be hundreds of emails, thousands of text messages (thank goodness for unlimited texting plans!), and many, many hours on various instant messengers - I I was getting a very personal look into what adoption reunion feels like. And here, is your little peek, in Malia's own words:

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The day was July 6th, 2009, and I was riding a roller coaster in Houston, Texas. I was screaming violently in the very back row. Next to me, my riding partner's scream was identical to mine, and equally loud. Mentally, I laughed at the situation in which I found myself. I was physically experiencing what I had been emotionally living for the past five months: a roller coaster. My companion, the only other person carrying on as fervent a racket as I had been, was my mother. My first mother, the one who abandoned me to strangers the day I was born, never to hear from me again. That is, until a winter afternoon nearly 19 years later. It was day four of my five day trip to meet her, in person, for the first time.

January 30th is the first anniversary of my reunion. And I'm not sure what to think of that. I hate that this had to happen-- that I had search my mother out in the first place and that neither of us got to experience my first 18 years of life together. Though my two-hour Internet search is infinitely small when compared to those of some of my adopted comrades (who have been known to spend years actively searching), it was more than six years in the making. When I was in middle school, I swore to my mother (in an old diary) that I would meet her one day. There was never any question that I was going to find her. I was going to find her or die trying.

When I first made contact with my mother, as SocialWrkr24/7 can attest, my emotions were everywhere (hence the roller coaster allusion). I was completely thrilled to have answers to my questions (yes, even when the answers weren't exactly heartwarming), and it was indescribable, how I felt, when I learned that my mother wanted to know me and that she missed me. The feeling was just as hard to define when I was told about my two brothers (who both knew of my existence). My family wanted to learn about me. They even offered to pay for my tickets to Texas so I could meet them.

In the coming months, I learned as much about my family as I could. I finally had an identity, and didn’t have to live in the dark anymore. I discovered that I hadn’t fallen from the sky, as I told myself when I was young. All my preconceived notions about my first family disappeared. I learned that my mother, father, and extended relatives were all human. They aren’t perfect. In fact, they’re an extremely dysfunctional family. But the truth is-- that doesn’t matter to me. I’m far from perfect. My adoptive family has its own measure of dysfunction, as well.

Sure, maybe I would've been worse off had I been kept. I might have followed my brothers' footsteps and broken contact with our mother. I also probably wouldn't have been so interested in my ancestry had I not been relinquished and subsequently adopted. But, as I've come to believe, those things would have been left to me to decide had I been kept. I could have decided what I wanted to do, but everything was determined for me, without my consent, and sealed (metaphorically speaking) in concrete.

I was talking to an adopted friend the other day, and I was trying to accurately explain to her what I wanted most for my mother to understand. I was rambling on about how she firmly believes that she didn’t give me up, but gave me more [in my life]. I didn't have a way to explain to her how I don't care that I got what she perceives to be more. My friend told me that I need to tell my mother that what I wanted growing up wasn't more-- that I wanted her, my mother.

It's really as simple as that. If I had to give up my life as I know it now in exchange for growing un-adopted and as her daughter, I'd do it right now. Is that so strange?

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You can get to know Malia better at her blog - Irrevocably Adopted - its brand spankin new! Its not "all adoption, all the time" - but it is All Malia!

(And I'll take this moment to say - FINALLY! I've been nagging her to start one FOREVER!)

And I want to take this moment to thank her for letting me come along for the ride (good thing I like rollercoasters!) Though we don't always agree on everything, I have learned so much from you! I'm sure you've wanted to strangle me sometimes - my naivete has led me to be plenty insensitive and difficult at times, I am sure! But I truly value our friendship - it is certainly like no other. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

8 comments:

  1. This part really made sense with me:

    "But, as I've come to believe, those things would have been left to me to decide had I been kept. I could have decided what I wanted to do, but everything was determined for me, without my consent, and sealed (metaphorically speaking) in concrete."

    Kids are such at the mercy of adults and as adults, this comes back to haunt us sometimes. I often think about my daughter's adoption in light of my parents' divorce. There was my parents' decision to divorce and there are my feelings about it and they aren't always compatible.

    Of course adoption has so much more UGH to it especially with closed records and closed relationships. So there is the loss of control and then the LOSS OF INFORMATION. That frustration and loss makes so much sense the way it was presented here.

    Thank you for sharing this!!!

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  2. Thank you so much for this sharing this insight.

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  3. Actually - I'm so sorry I read this. As an adoptive mother I love my adopted children as powerfully as my bio children. To the degree that I will sometimes find myself trying to recall the details of their birth and only secondarily remember that I wasn't there. Sometimes I think I love them more - because they seem like an absolute miracle! Whereas my biological children seemed to come more in the regular pattern of things.

    The idea that my children would, like that!, give up all the love I have for them, nearly breaks my heart....makes me feel my life is hardly worth living. Because what, apart from the act of loving - makes any life worthwhile? Yet, that my children would thrust it all back in my face - just to be with their biological parent......makes it all seem so fruitless. Meaningless.

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  4. Loved your post Malia! So glad you had a wonderful friend on your journey.

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  5. It's all so tricky. Sometimes I feel like my adopted son found me. We adopted thru foster care and have fostered many children. He was different from the start. I would love to adopt more. It is tricky. He is four, has had a very trauma filled past thanks to his birth mother. It was not her fault, she was a foster kid too with a life full of trauma and no parenting skills what so ever. I WANT DESPERATELY to give him a relationship with his birth mother. But she is not safe. She has proven over and over again that she will not put his safety first. So we wait. We hope for the day when she will be older and more mature and perhaps able to handle a relationship with us and with him. One without threats of violence and kidnapping.
    Meanwhile I have this child who will tell me the moment he percieves he is not getting his way that he wants his birth mom! I just hope and pray and get him and me into therapy and hope and pray some more that he will grow to feel the love I have for him. That I would (and have) walk accross fire for him. I love him so much. I want his life to be complete. How do encourage that to happen?

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  6. Thank you.This makes sense to me yet Annie's reply also makes complete sense.Adoption is a terrible thing.Not that it occurs, but that it NEEDS to occur.It results in some sort of damage to someone-bioparents, the child and the adoptive parent.Thank you t=for these lessons.I hope when I come across it in real life, I will be more sensitive to these emotional hurdles.

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  7. Malia, thank you for sharing such a deeply personal piece of your ongoing story. It was really powerful.

    Off to check out your blog!

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  8. Thanks for all the supportive comments. Socialworker had asked me back in like October if I'd do a guest spot on her blog, and it took me until January to finally convince myself I could do it.

    Also- my internet decided to stop working for two days this week and I had no idea how to fix it. So that's why it took me so long to reply (obviously I got it back lol).

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